Ebola Crisis: Sierra Leone Bans Christmas Celebrations

Sierra LeoneSierra Leone has banned public celebrations over Christmas and the New Year, because of the Ebola crisis.

Soldiers are to be deployed on the streets throughout the festive period to keep people indoors.

The Minister of Defence, who heads the government’s Ebola Response Unit, Palo Conteh, made the declaration on Friday.

He said that there would be “no Christmas and New Year celebrations this year. We will ensure that everybody remains at home to reflect on Ebola.

“Military personnel will be on the streets at Christmas and the New Year to stop any street celebrations.”

President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, has also told traditional leaders to stop traditional practices as part of efforts to end Ebola in the country.

The President added that despite international aid, it seemed “as if the cases are increasing”, especially in north-western areas such as Port Loko and the Bombali region.

Police Boosts Security Ahead of Christmas Celebrations

The Nigeria Police have set in motion comprehensive operational strategies to boost security effectively during this year’s Christmas season and beyond, a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba said on Sunday.

The statement issued “reassured Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora, that massive security measures have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free celebration nationwide”.

It noted that “Accordingly, all the strike Forces and specialized units of the Force, including the Police Mobile Force (Mopol), Counter Terrorism Unit, Special Protection Unit, Federal Highway Patrol and Explosive Ordinance Department have been adequately mobilized to join forces with the conventional Police Force in providing water-tight security”.

It added that “the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), MD Abubakar has directed all Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in all Zonal and State Commands of the Force to retool their security infrastructures in line with international standards, taking into consideration their local environment and peculiar security situation in order to protect the citizens adequately”.

The statement also disclosed  “that covert operations, round-the-clock surveillance, and robust vehicular patrols are being intensified, while particular attention is now constantly paid to strategic public places, including places of worship, recreation centres, shopping malls, business plazas, motor parks, strategic highways, government installations and other important locations so as to forestall any possible criminal activity and guarantee the safety of the citizenry”.

IG Urges Nigerian Christians To Practice The Virtues of Jesus

Meanwhile, the IGP, on behalf of the officers and men of the Force, heartily rejoices with Christians in Nigeria as they celebrate this year’s Christmas, and “enjoins them to practice the virtues of Jesus Christ by propagating peace, demonstrating love and forgiveness, as well as promoting harmonious coexistence among fellow citizens, irrespective of religious, ethnic or political leanings”.

The IGP promised increased better service delivery in the coming year as a reward for the continued understanding and renewed cooperation of Nigerians with the police.

He “therefore calls on Nigerians to strengthen their partnership with the Police and other security agencies by providing pre-emptive useful information for them”.